Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to an all important American responsibility: Your vote.

2 November 2020 Monday

Tomorrow you get to vote. You have not only the right to vote but the responsibility to get out and vote. If enough of you don’t bother to vote, we will, eventually, lose that right to vote and we’ll be in a society where you are forced to vote. It has happened all through the last century. 200 MILLION people died. They were murdered and starved to death in these countries where you are required to vote or else. The leader must receive 98% of the vote and you are forced to vote for whatever Fearless Leader (dictator) is on the ballot. The Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Venezuela and almost all of the Middle Eastern countries. Even today there is continuing murder of the citizens of many of these countries. So-o-o, Fellow Campers, use your right to vote for whomever you want before you are required to vote for the Fearless Leader.

Yesterday, I achieved another milestone. I reached the ripe old age of 76. One unusual thing that happened was that the night when I was born there was a Blue Moon. The night when I turned 76 was a Blue Moon. I’m hoping this doesn’t portend my imminent demise. This was the first time there was a Blue Moon on Halloween night in 76 years. I was born at 1:00 AM on November 1st under that same Blue Moon. In the event, you don’t know what a Blue Moon is , here is the definition. A Blue Moon is a 2nd full moon in a same month. It is a rarity that caused the old saying “Once in a Blue Moon”. Meaning that a particular event happens very rarely.

The continued effort to prepare for winter is in full swing. We spent part of yesterday afternoon splitting and stacking firewood. We had a little dusting of snow early Thursday morning. Normally, this light dusting of snow would have melted almost immediately. However, the event of the snow, also, brought lower temperatures. Recent nights have been down as low as 12F at night. Fortunately, during the day it warms to 21-22F. This temperature range isn’t a real problem, if you dress for it. Up until yesterday, I would find myself starting to sweat which meant I had to change to a less heavy coat. Yesterday the wind began to blow with gusts up a near gale force. The high wind and the 21F temperature made for a slightly uncomfortable afternoon. We kept on splitting and stacking wood until 5:30 by then the temperature had dropped to about 18F. At this time of the year it is completely dark by 6:30. I spent most of the morning installing the last two support posts under the front of the house. All three new posts are sitting on 16-18 inch thick concrete footings. Moving all of those 80 lb bags of concrete was a chore. Slogging through the ankle deep mud to mix and pour the concrete was just about all a 76 year old man could manage. Moving and cutting the posts was a lot easier. The installation of the posts was a breeze compared to the concrete. The front of the house is now level again. I can now lower the middle and back wall of the house to match the front. The effort to do this little project was almost beyond my ability. I have begun to feel that I might be losing a step. I have, jokingly, remarked that I’m like a 3 day old package of chicken, in the meat case at your favorite grocery store, I am getting very close to my “Sell by date”. I been thinking of it as preparing Summer for the day that I won’t be able to ‘answer the bell’ or maybe, even, get out of bed.

The next project, after the completion of the wood splitting and stacking, is to crawl under the house and remove the shims to lower the house to a point somewhere near level. The leveling will mark the beginning of the removal of sheetrock on the ceilings so that the house can be rewired. I have been scared silly that some part of the half-assed amateur wiring is going to kill us in our sleep. There are multiple wires in Summer’s room that are terminated in one 4×4 box. There are so many protruding out of the box that the idiot doing the wiring could not put a cover on the box. All of the wires were wire nutted together outside of the box. When we first moved in, I checked these wires and found several of them were just barely connected and/or connected with the wrong size of wire nut. Either of these are potential fire hazards. I repaired them as best I could by installing a box extension and a cover but that doesn’t really solve the entire problem. I have 5 smoke alarms and 3 Carbon Monoxide alarms posted through the house. I am more than just a little bit paranoid. We got a bit of a scare last night. I had the wood stove dampered down for the night. I had been in bed for less than an hour when the smoke alarm in the upstairs hallway started beeping. The beeping started Summer’s dogs to begin barking. The barking caused my dog to start barking. It was all of that barking and beeping that woke up both Summer and myself. The house was pretty smoky and I hurried around trying to find the source. I discovered that we were not, in fact, on fire. I took a look at the wood stove and discovered that the high winds were blowing down the stove pipe and forcing the smoke out through the combustion air inlet. I had, for three previous winters, meant to connect that through a wall vent to the great outdoors. This was a problem we’d never had before. Now my project for today is to put the hole in the wall and start drawing our combustion air from outside and putting the smoke outside when we get back pressure from the wind. It’s always just one more little thing that needs to be done.

We have run a ‘Garage Sale’ for the last two weekends. The first weekend brought in over $1000. The second weekend brought in less than $100. The problem was that no one wanted to come out in the snow. Now we only need another $4000 or so to pay for the inventory for Summer’s business. She started her business, Greer Rd Greenhouse, with the hope of being able to raise the $10,000 by January. We may get very close and not have to cancel some of the Spring inventory. Like Poker we are ‘all in’ here in Fritz Creek. We have money to finish the house but I’m concerned that her under capitalized business will die on the vine. I’m considering selling, Spike, my 2016 Dodge Ram 4WD 3500 is worth a minimum retail of $36k here in Alaska. I don’t really need the big truck anymore. I can buy a good used truck for $6000-$8000 that will suit our current needs. We no longer have the bi36′ travel trailer and I’m using a $36k heavy duty truck to haul trash and, occasionally, lumber and other supplies from Home Depot. This does not make sense. The proceeds, if any, will go to finance Summer’s business.

Again this year, we don’t have a proper chicken house and the ground has frozen so I won’t be putting a fence up to container these critters. I guess we’ll be putting them in the greenhouse the same as we did last winter. The construction of Summer’s business took me almost six weeks. It had to be constructed for the fall ‘Bulb Season’ and needed to be ready before the February Spring sales season begins. Summer sold all of the Garlic bulbs and about 25% of the flower bulbs. She learned this season that garlic bulbs are the money makers. Next season she will be heavily into garlic bulbs and a whole lot lighter on the flower bulbs. Every business is a crap shoot. I’ve never started a business that did not make money. I’ve closed several that were making some money but were more trouble than they were worth. This time I’m not in control. To say that I don’t like not being in control would be just a teensy bit of an understatement.

One thought on “Dad’s Alaska

  1. Congratulations on getting the last two support posts in and hopefully you will be able to remove the shims and lower the house.Then you can work inside during the winter where its warm and mud free!

    Not being in control… that hits home for me and we share the fact that I have already found out that I can no longer do what I did when living in Alaska .

    Your last photo is a reminder to me that you my friend are so very fortunate…. for when I go out my door I can only stare at a brick wall and across the way a cell phone tower, whereas you are surrounded by the handiwork of God.


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